Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a boat fire that occurred Saturday and injured two passengers.
At approximately 2:55 p.m., Kosciusko County Dispatch received a 911 call for a boat fire with injuries near the Wawasee Boat Company on Lake Wawasee.
Preliminary investigations revealed that a Cabin Cruiser had two inboard engines that caught fire when the owner attempted to start the vessel after fueling it. The owner, Jeff Honzik of Culver, advised he did vent the watercraft with blowers prior to engaging the engine.
The Syracuse Fire Department was able to quickly contain the fire to the watercraft before it subsequently sank.
The 8 occupants, including Honsik, were able to make it safely onto shore. Two female passengers Jane Roahrig and the future bride’s mother-in-law were transported to Fort Wayne Lutheran Burn Center for treatment for second degree burns. The group was there for a bachelorette party.
Conservation Officers want to remind boat operator’s to run bilge blowers before starting inboard engines for the entire time recommended by the Boat Manufacturer prior to starting the engines. All non-open type vessels built after 1980 that run on gasoline are required to have functional bilge blowers according to the United States Coast Guard requirements.
Units assisting Indiana Conservation Officers at the scene include Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, Syracuse Police Department, Syracuse Fire and Syracuse EMS.